How do you react when a woman shows you her aura? To my relief, it turned out she was showing me not the energy field around her body, but her Oura, a ring that monitors her sleep.
explained that my days are already governed by my Fitbit, and there’s no way I am letting it dominate my nocturnal activities too. Also, I’d be ashamed to share my poor sleep metrics with my Fitbit.
I have begun to wonder, however, if the primary relationship in my life is with my Fitbit (other wearables and trackers are available). I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s my significant other, because I’m not sure that it is ‘other’. It is a part of me really.
So maybe the primary relationship I have with the Fitbit is just a primary relationship with myself. Maybe it’s narcissism. Or at the very least self-obsession.
It was when the Fitbit went dead on me the other day that I realised I had lost a part of me. I went to look at how long I’d managed to stay in the sea and it was blank, dead, unresponsive. I was livid.
For no good reason, it is really important to me to know how long I stayed in the sea. As soon as I look and know, then I move on and never think about it again. But still, I need to know. And at least I know it happened then.
Somehow, if there isn’t a metric, an electronic record of it, it didn’t happen. Of course, this is not healthy. We should all be living in the moment. It should be enough that something happened and that you were present in it at the time.
But of course it’s not enough anymore. We need numbers, metrics. We need the record to show. We need the receipts.
I sat it on the charger to try and revive it and I went for a run without it. It is not an exaggeration to say I felt naked. I kept checking my wrist as I ran along. But there was nothing there. Gradually I realised I was enjoying myself. I was just running along for the sake of it.
I knew the route I was taking was roughly 5K, but equally 5K wasn’t there as the strict goal to be met. I wasn’t checking all the time, thinking, “over halfway there now”, or “that’s two thirds”.
Neither was I racing against myself, against my past self, against the record, against my average 5K time or my slow 5K time or my fast 5K time. I was just running along pointlessly.
But then I got home and the run had never happened. Because I could not say how many active minutes I had expended. An ‘active minute’ occurs when you get your heartbeat over a certain point.
If you really get your heart going you can actually notch up two active minutes in one minute. So active minutes defy the laws of space and time.
In fact, you don’t actually even have to be active to get active minutes. If you got a fright, or you got angry, or you had tachycardia, or a full-blown heart ‘event’, you would probably notch up active minutes.
I’d imagine there are people being rushed to hospital in ambulances after heart attacks who are looking in a satisfied manner at their wrists as they notch up active minutes.
So they are arbitrary enough in a way. And yet they are my chosen metric for how I compare myself to myself.
The big moment comes on a Tuesday when I get the automated email telling me about my performance the previous week, and how it compares with the week before. This allows me to know whether I am getting better or worse.
Active minutes down on the previous week means I need to get a grip, that I am wasting my life. Active minutes up on the week isn’t any better. It just raises the bar for the following week. And you’re right, it’s f**king exhausting.
So you might think then that being freed from the dictator on my wrist would make things better. But it didn’t.
I realise that fundamentally I am better with it in my life than without. It encourages me to cycle somewhere instead of drive, to walk a little bit faster sometimes, to take the stairs. If not quite to be in the moment, at least to be in the active minute.